CINCINNATI -- During early batting practice on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park, Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart was hitting ball after ball to the opposite field. Then he launched a few into the right-field seats.
"I like the ones he was hitting to right," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Stewart entered Wednesday's game against the Reds batting .169 overall and 2-for-14 (.143) in the just-completed four-game series in Philadelphia.
"He's hit into a lot of bad luck," Sveum said. "For his average to be where it is, I don't think that's where his swings are, not that he's where he wants to be on a consistent basis. But some of the balls he's hit hard. ... It's not as bad as the numbers look. The way he's played defense and still centering balls up, it's not as bad as it looks."
Sveum has been patient with Stewart and catcher Geovany Soto, who is hitting .127 overall.
"It's 25 games into the season," Sveum said. "It's hard to panic after 25 games when you have 140 left, basically. These guys have a track record, although Stewart had a tough year last year. We didn't pick him up to give him 25 days of a chance, especially when he's a two-way player, or can be a two-way player.
"It's way too early, the weather is just starting to warm up," Sveum said. "There's plenty of guys struggling. [Albert] Pujols doesn't have a home run yet, Prince Fielder hasn't hit one since the second day of the season. It's way too early to think about any change or anything like that."